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How Impressions are Formed

by Swami Sivananda
An experience in the sense plane sinks into the depths of the subconscious mind. There it becomes a samskara (an impression). The impression of an experience is formed, in the citta, (subconscious mind), at the very moment that the mind experiences it. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of the samskara in the subconscious mind.One specific experience leaves one specific samskara and the memory of this specific experience springs from that particular samskara only, which was formed out of that particular experience.When you first perceive an orange and taste it, you get knowledge of an orange. A samskara is formed in the subconscious mind at once. At any time this samskara can generate a memory of the object, the orange and knowledge of the orange. Though the object and the act of knowing are distinguishable, yet they are inseparable.Samskara is also known as 'residual potency'. When all vrttis or thoughts die away, the frame of the mind remains, with the samskaras. This is termed the 'potential mind'. All samskaras co-exist in the mind. Vrttis slowly subside, leaving traces in the mind. These traces are samskaras. From them springs memory.If you have yogic vision, you can vividly notice the marvels that take place in the mental factory of an individual. You can see how the vrtti arises in the mind-lake. You can see how it subsides. And you can see how a samskara is formed. You will be struck with wonder. Samskaras are like forces they either aid or inhibit one another.The sum total of all samskaras is known as karmasaya (receptacle of works) and this is called sancita karma (accumulated works). When a man leaves the physical body he carries with him his astral body of seventeen tatvas (elements) and the karmasaya, to the mental plane. Karmasaya is burnt in toto by the highest knowledge, obtained through asamprajnata samadhi (the non-dual superconscious state). 


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